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Digital inclusion support for people in Bridgend living with mental ill health

Based in Bridgend, Mental Health Matters Wales (MHMW) is an independent non-profit, non-political charity which works with people who have a mental health related issue, other voluntary organisations and statutory services to promote mental well-being, and to ensure there is a comprehensive range of mental health services in Wales.

MHMW has identified a need for more of its service users to be supported to get more from computers and the internet. Digital Communities Wales (DCW) has supported Mental Health Matters Wales by providing ICT kit that it can use with its service users, in community settings. DCW provided MHMW with a laptop, iPad, wireless keyboard and Bluetooth speakers.

Ceri Bosley, Community Services Worker, Mental Health Matters Wales said “We try to encourage our service users to use our laptops and iPads. We help them get online and find out more information and become more familiar with the equipment.

“With the kit we received from Digital Communities Wales, our service users go online and use it for shopping, general searching, registering for courses, NHS information and dealing with referrals to other agencies. One of our service users, who has enrolled onto a course with a local college, uses the kit to do his coursework on.”

We reach 500 service users and I’d say about 80% wouldn’t usually have access to digital technology if it wasn’t for the kit we’ve got from Digital Communities Wales. When they come in to use it, some of the service users are visibly excited.

The following are quotes, provided anonymously, by two service users at MHMW:
“I enrolled in a night class, working with spreadsheets. I also enrolled on an Open University course, which I passed. I use the computer at Mental Health Matters Wales to do my work on.”

“I keep in touch with my family on Facebook. My brother is abroad and I don’t want an expensive bill, so I use social media to keep in touch with him.”

To watch a video of our work with Mental Health Matters Wales, please visit our YouTube channel.